Instead we celebrate
St Sylvestre's Day, a pope who died on the last day of the year
L’Eglise Saint-Sulplice has an organ concert at 8:30pm to ring him in. We book tickets online and hop the Metro, waiting in the rain to get in, first come,
The church is magnificent. The organ has many pipes. I look around at the audience and wonder if they can tell we’re Americans I am always on my best behavior when I travel. No Ugly American in white tennies. Look – I’m cultured,
not a Philistine.
I clap with enthusiasm to show how much I enjoy classical music, even though I hate organs, especially Bach and those morbid fugues. I nod and laugh along with the audience as the musician introduces each piece. But his French is way too quick for me.
Afterwards we go to a Vietnamese restaurant and run into a young woman whose hometown is 30 minutes north of ours. Back to the apartment, climbing up a spiral of four French flights, to ring in
the New Year.
We stand at the open kitchen window listening to the countdown screamed in French from the party upstairs – dix, neuf, huit, sept ... Later the revilers sing American rock & roll at full throttle – Dion & The Belmonts, Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons with a Gallic twist. They make the whole building shake with their dancing.
At 4am they drag beaucoup de garbage bags of empty wine bottles down the stairs to the recycling bin.
I fall back to sleep enjoying ringing in 2013 with my neighbors. The noise bothers my family but makes me feel part of the apartment building.
The next year it is Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin in Times Square once again, except for the accented English of Sherry and Runaround Sue that still plays in my head.